2005 Pontiac Grand
Apple QuickTime viewer here. Watch the interior, exterior, and a few full throttle
Great exterior looks with contoured shapes. Nice engine and exhaust growl.
Firmer Bilstein suspension. Heads-Up display. Only $24,600 after the
employee discount price plan.
Tight fitting interior. Seating is not comfortable. Power difficult to
control due to front wheel drive. Low legroom in rear.
If you can say one thing
about Pontiac cars, it has to be that they have style. For 2006, the
Pontiac Grand Prix lineup includes the well-equipped Grand Prix, the sporty
Grand Prix GT and the Grand Prix GXP, which we test here. The performance
enhanced GXP model offers more exterior styling, more horsepower, better
suspension and brakes, and most of all, more fun.
Prix GXP offers the newest 5.3 Liter V-8 engine with Displacement on Demand
technology. Being the most powerful front wheel drive car in America, the
GXP has 303 horsepower available and 323 lb.-ft. of torque. We tested zero
to sixty times of 5.62 seconds. Add to this unique suspension tuning which
lowers the GXP approximately 9 mm. Bilstein high quality German struts with
higher rate springs, as well as a 17.2 mm hollow rear stabilizer bar are
fitted to the GXP. You will immediately notice the red colored brake
calipers as well as the yellow colored struts making this performance
machine stand out from the crowd. A Bosch four channel ABS system is
standard providing superior braking. Also unique are 18-inch polished
forded aluminum wheels.
body enhancements complement the car's aggressive stance.
Exterior styling is modern and powerful.
The front end flows with a grille similar to that in the upcoming Solstice
as well as a faceted front hood panel. Multi beam front headlamps, fog
lamps, and air dam lamps all give the GXP a powerful look. The curved and
flowing appearance extends to the rear in a coupe like fashion, flaring out
the rear fender for a sportier appearance. From the rear, a wing on the
trunk lid hints that this car is sporty. Four large muffler outlets fitted
nicely in a modern bumper suggests power under the hood. We think that
Pontiac should have lowered the wheel gap even more for a more sporty
appearance, but overall, the exterior of the Pontiac Grand Prix GXP is
smooth and flowing.
The interior of the GXP is what you have
come to expect from Pontiac. While the upgraded GXP trim gives you ultralux
suede like microfiber seat inner portions, brushed aluminum trim on the
instrument cluster, and brushed aluminum door sill plates, there is still
much lacking inside this GM vehicle. The doors and dash are made of hard
plastic. Most switches are bulbous and dated in style, made of hard
plastic. The center console is tilted towards the driver for a cockpit
appearance. The steering wheel is large for the interior space, but has
sporty thick grips at two and ten o'clock. Two paddles on the steering
wheel allow you to change gears when in sport driving mode.
We found the low roofline reminiscent of a
coupe. This cut down on the feeling of space inside the Grand Prix GXP. We
did not like the large dash coming into the cabin, combined with the raked
front windshield. The steering wheel is too large for this interior, and it
cannot be moved away from the driver, therefore the GXP is made mainly for
tall people. If we moved our seat back to be the proper distance from the
steering wheel, it was difficult to push the floor pedals, which cannot be
moved in this GM model.
Front seats are quite large so rear seat
passengers do not have much legroom or much of a view facing forward. Rear
seats are deep and feel nicely made. Rear doors swing open 82 degrees, the
most in the segment, but we usually found the front seats intruding into the
rear cabin so moving them forward and then fitting wide items is the way to
go. Standard 60/40 split folding rear seats allow you to carry even larger
and longer items in the already cavernous trunk. GM really needs to put in
a floor system in the trunk to hold objects in place as digging way deep
into this large space is difficult for small items that move around.
Items as long as 9 feet can be accommodated with
the trunk closed when the optional fold-flat front passenger seat is folded
The doors are still lacking a good feeling
while seated inside the GXP. Hard plastic bottom portions with sprayed dots
as a pattern was just ugly. Upper paneling on the doors is somewhat better
using a mix of materials. Window switches are still very cheap. It is
strange how GM vehicles put good technology, and some good parts and mix
them with old parts to cover the interiors of their cars. The roof lining
is done in modern fabric with modern lighting switches, and seats offer a
suede like inner portion with contrasting stitching; very different from the
rest of the car which is typical old GM.
The GM heads up display is available on
many models and is a very useful feature. It shows a digital speed-reading
in the windshield so you do not have to look down away from the road. It
can also show stereo selection, gear selection, and automatically changes
after a selection is made. A control button allows you to change what is
displayed and the brightness of the display. We also liked the trip
computer with G force readings as well on the center dashboard. The stereo
system is good and featured XM satellite radio. The climate controls are
easy to understand, lacking automatic temperature setting however. The
system is loud in its high setting even with the massive array of in high
setting and the numerous big air vents up front were not liked by many on
driving experience behind the wheel of the GXP was mixed and fun, after all,
you do have fun driving anything with over 300 horsepower. Press hard on
the pedal and a great exhaust growl surges you forward, but look out, you
hardly have any steering control, so you just hope that the car goes
straight and then soon enough you end up having some steering feel as you
approach high speeds. Seats are a bit low in the proper driving position and
you cannot see out the windshield very well. If you sit very high the roof
is much too close to you. Pedal feel is hard and the feeling that you need
to be closer is always present. But the in your face steering wheel is just
a bit too large and un-adjustable for comfort. We did not ever notice the
cylinder on demand system switch between all or partial banks of cylinders.
Our average miles per gallon was also much lower than the city average
stated on the window sticker, obtaining only 16.5 miles per gallon.
A high-performance Hydra-Matic
4T65-E electronically controlled four-speed automatic transmission was
strengthened to handle the prodigious torque of the 5.3L V-8. TAPshift
(Touch Activated Power) is standard with the GXP and combines the fun and
control of a manual transmission, but with the convenience of an automatic
transmission, using two paddles on the steering wheel. While we did not get
the hang of the system as easily as in other cars where one side is down and
the other up, it was a fun feature to have.
Suspension is good; body sway is light but
evident. Bounce is quite low due to the great Bilstein struts. The overall
feel of the car is still that of a big car. The Magnasteer II system does
not do a good job of conveying the road, something which only BMW has done
effectively to date. Brakes are strong but not as amazing as we would have
liked. Tires and wheels are a large P255/45R18
in front and P225/50R18 in the rear with W speed ratings, getting them to
screech and squeal is quite easy with the power up front.
on the GXP is GM's StabiliTrak which greatly improves vehicle control with a
series of sophisticated sensors that maintain vehicle direction by
independently applying brake force at the appropriate corners of the car.
StabiliTrak monitors differences between the driver's desired path and the
vehicle's actual path and then takes preventive measures to maintain the
desired path. StabiliTrak greatly reduces the possibility of oversteer or
understeer which is greatly appreciated in this front wheel drive car.
StabiliTrak is integrated with the vehicle's ABS and traction control system
as well offering a total package as found in other cars in this price
range. Standard are dual stage front air bags as well as a tire inflation
Prix GXP starts off at a base price of $29,335. Added to this was the
leather package on our car with heated driver and front passenger seats as
well as ultralux suede inserts in all seats for $665. XM satellite radio
was optional for $325 as well as the very useful remote vehicle starter for
$150. Current deep discounts would take about $6,000 off the price of this